Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Update

Just a quick summer update on fun things on the farm. It's summer in full swing - that means Farmer's Markets, running irrigation, flies everywhere, and animals seeking shade...

This is Scout kitty, one of our barn cats. NO, it isn't Schroed. This is Scout - she was confounded by the fencing in the garden. All she wanted was to get to me for some loves and pets. I love Boo Radley and Scout - they let us know when they need water and food, and always check up on us for affection. I don't think these two are going to run away. I think it's more likely they are going to turn into house pets. We'll see!

Our watermelon plant has a flower! Will it give us melons?

The turkeys are now on their own. Turkeys tend to be pretty self reliant, and don't need us to fill their water and food for them often, as they go looking for their own stuff. They had a field day after last night's rain, the field was full of bugs. I can't imagine what it would be like without birds eating the bugs! And the turkeys, well, they just let themselves right into our back yard.

These are our current pen chickens - broilers and egg layers, about a month old. The layers will stay here until they can eat adult chicken food and move in with the rest of the hens. The broilers will be gone in a month! You can see the Silver Lakenvelders, which I plan on breeding someday. And then there is my mystery bird!

Is it BEAR? Is is a MOUNTAIN LION! Is it a WOLF?? No, it's an Atlas footprint. That's my foot. And that's the size of Atlas' paw! We have big dogs!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Baby Chicks

I hatched 2 more baby chicks, they are about 5 days old, and living in a box in our office. This keeps them from being eaten by cats in the barn, or stepped on by a cow. They can't go outside for a few weeks, so they get to stay inside until our new turkeys and meat birds show up. Once there are a few more out in the brooder, we can fix the lid and they can stay safely in the barn until it's time to go outside.

These are successful Ancona chicks. As opposed to my weird mystery chick. Don't know what was its mother or its father - so we'll see what she turns out to be. But these two are certainly Anconas!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Introducing Marlow!

A few picture updates before we get to our new friend....

Here is our greenhouse. The roll up sides are in action, and they are pretty cool. Shade cloth has been ordered and is on its way - a necessity in this Colorado sun!

What you see in here is a work in progress... lots of things plants, as well as lots of weeds. We are working on it!!

Just a shot of some of our orchard trees. I hung CDs from the trees to try and scare the birds away. I can't wait until they start to bear fruit this fall! I am looking up all sorts of fruit recipes - cobblers, pies, muffins, tarts - YUM!

Here are our most recent baby chicks - Cornish Rocks for meat chickens, my black and white Silver Lakenvelders, and my one little mystery chick that we hatched right here. I have 3 more eggs that are due to hatch in 10 days!

And here is our new friend, Marlow the cow! He is a cast off from a dairy farm. Boy cows are no good for the dairy, so he was taken from his mother, along with 5 of his friends. He's very emaciated (I suspect at a couple of weeks, he may have been weaned too early) We are bringing him home to raise him on the pasture, and eventually eat him.

We are bottle feeding him, and he LOVES us. Atlas doesn't like him, he's scared of the sheep and they are scared of him, and Hobbes thinks he's just another big dog to play with. He's very friendly, and we want him to stay that way - when he's full grown we do NOT want him to get mad at us!

We're trying to turn this bull calf into a steer calf, and apparently he's been banded twice and gotten the band off. We think the equipment we have to band the lambs will work on him (seriously, sheep have large testicles - his are smaller than our lambs) But we sort of want to shut down his hormone production in an effort to keep him from getting aggressive. If a sheep wants to get mad and butt me, they can knock me on my duff. If a full grown, or even half grown bull wants to do the same - he can kill me. So we want him to stay a gentle giant.

People keep telling me that you can't name something you are going to eat, so why did we name Marlow? Well, first, try and stop me from naming an animal! Second, I can name something and still eat it. We ate Linus or Charlie Brown, and Lenny or Squiggy (we don't know which ones we got and which ones we sold). I still ate them! But to me, naming them means I care about them. That's why *I* raise animals. This guy could have been tied to a pen and turned into veal. Or he can come to our house, have a pasture full of grass, friends to play with, and an idiot like me who will scratch him behind the ears. Part of why I think our animals do so well is because they are loved and cared for. Marlow is my friend. He's not a commodity. He's not inventory on a shelf. He's the little baby calf I always wanted. And I can love him, name him, pet him, hug him, and still eat him one day. I'm OK with that.